YongNuo have released the new Speedlite YN-500EX, their second HSS enabled flash unit following the recent flagship YN-568EX . Very much resembling Canon’s 430EX II, its clear the YN-500EX is aimed to be the smaller brother to YN-568EX.
The YN-500EX has a lower guide number of 53, compared to 58 of the YN-568EX, and a PC sync port instead of the updated 2.5mm sub-mini sync port found in the YN-568EX. Otherwise they both have quite similar functions, and both being E/ITTL slave units to the Canon and Nikon optic wireless systems. The YN-500EX does also have new illuminated buttons as well.
There is still no HV battey port for external battery packs, or master function. That’s similar to what you would expect from a 430EX II though anyway. Recycle time is stated at 3 seconds at full power, which is in line with the the YN-568 EX and 430EX II as well.
Like the YN-568EX, the 500EX has a a number of slave options for wireless off camera use, the Canon/Nikon optic wireless system, as well as basic optic slave mode which is triggered by the light from other flash units. That includes S1 and S2 TTL pre-flash suppression mode. Using the Canon or Nikon optic wireless, a camera with built in commander can be used as the controller, or separate master units like the Canon ST-E2, Nikon SU-800, or external flash units with master function built in.
Screen layout looks similar to the YN-568EX, though the LCD is considerably smaller. Like the YN-568EX there is no manual flash distance scale available again either. New larger buttons are back lit which may be easier to navigate in the dark.
A metal foot and regular locking ring have become fairly standard now with YN flashes. The YN-568EX foot is a little smaller than the original Canaon/Nikon units, leaving some movement with the flash in the camera hot shoe. Its likely the 500EX will be the same but its not a big issue.
The YN-500EX is clearly designed as a 430EX II, or Nikon SB-700 alternative. I get the feeling though this flash was likely on the drawing board and in development before the YN-568EX, which is much more of an original design and not mimicking the Canon flashes. The old PC sync port supplied instead of the later 2.5mm sub-mini jack also indicates this was likely an older design.
The first listing on Ebay at $157 likely indicates a price point around the $140 to $160 mark, compared to around $185 for the YN-568EX.
So is the YN-500EX a worthwhile cost saving over the YN-568EX, to justify a drop in power, and save a little in size? For off camera use its probably not worth sacrificing any power, unless there was a substantial saving. For direct on camera fill flash where you don’t always need so much power even in HSS, and for may people starting out or just after some occasional on camera flash use, the YN-500EX may be just fine. Its certainly a nicer option than all the older YongNuo lower end TTL units like the YN-467 and YN-468 etc.
The YN-500EX is not really the ideal budget option for the YN-622C or YN-622N TTL radio triggers many people have been hoping for though. The HSS adds considerable cost, and any drop in power makes the HSS less usable off camera anyway. Though the YN-500EX probably will have to fill that lower priced option for the moment. I do think we will still see a more purpose designed budget YN-622C slave yet to come. For now, spending the little extra on the YN-568EX is likely still the better option (or YN-565EX if you need a HV battery port and not HSS).
Price and Availability –
The YN-500EX should be available soon on the YongNuo Ebay store, expected around $160.